January 16, 2016. (Eagle News) — In the face of the most recent allegations being hurled against the Iglesia Ni Cristo, particularly those coming from expelled INC member Mrs. Lolita “Lottie” Hemedez and her group, the INC released an official statement on Friday (January 15) to shed light on these “malicious” claims.
“The Iglesia Ni Cristo Administration vehemently denies the malicious allegations being hurled against us. The INC leadership will never do anything that can ruin the reputation of the Church,” INC spokesperson Bro. Edwil Zabala said citing the INC’s official statement in reaction to the cases of estafa and falsification of public documents filed by Hemedez.
“We have firm belief in our country’s justice system, and since we have taken legal measures, let us allow justice to take its course in accordance with the law. We have complete trust that just like in the previous lawsuits against us, the truth will eventually come out and it will be revealed who are telling the truth,” he said.
The INC also said that it would proceed with the proper legal proceedings for the ejectment of Hemedez and sibling Felix Nathaniel “Angel” Manalo from the INC housing at no. 36 Tandang Sora Avenue in Quezon City.
“In the event that Lottie and company will refuse to vacate peacefully and voluntarily, the leadership will have to push through with its eviction case against her,” Zabala said.
Zabala said the INC administration also reiterated its position that obedience to God’s teachings in the Bible takes precedence over everything else, and that “obedience is thicker than blood” citing a verse in the Bible, Matthew 12:47-50.
The INC spokesperson stressed the INC administration’s position that the Church was not a “family corporation” and that Lottie and Angel were not exempt from following the INC doctrines, all of which are based on the Bible.
Hemedez had claimed in a press conference on Friday to select media people (Rappler, Inquirer and ABS-CBN) that it was her brother’s responsibility to take care of them, referring to INC Executive Minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo.
Zabala said Hemedez and her group should be reminded of the primary responsibility of any INC member which was to follow the Church’s teachings, including submission to the Church administration which is also based on the Bible.
“We wish to reiterate that the INC is not a family corporation. It is a religion that stands firm in obeying God’s teachings in the Bible. Hence, even the regulations implemented within the Church are based on the Bible,” he said.
“Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, being the Church’s Executive Minister, has sworn to uphold these principles, even in matters pertaining to his caring for his relatives, siblings and mother. As the Lord Jesus Christ said in Matthew 12:47-50 (The Message): While he was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers showed up. They were outside trying to get a message to him. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and brothers are out here, wanting to speak with you.” Jesus didn’t respond directly, but said, “Who do you think my mother and brothers are?” He then stretched out his hand toward his disciples. “Look closely. These are my mother and brothers. Obedience is thicker than blood. The person who obeys my heavenly Father’s will is my brother and sister and mother,” the official INC statement read.
“Thus, the supreme expression of caring for them is by teaching and leading them in obedience to the will of our Lord God. The other relatives and siblings of Brother Eduardo Manalo can attest that he has been upholding this duty along with the provision of their material needs. However, if and when any of them refuses to obey the teachings, he also must and will enforce the disciplinary actions as decreed in the Bible.” he added, reading the INC’s official statement.
Earlier, on Thursday, January 14, the INC held a press conference regarding its decision to file an ejectment case against the expelled siblings for their continuous activities that threaten the very security of the compound, including the security and peace of mind of the INC residents still living near the area. The INC’s Tandang Sora property was near the INC’s Central Office.
Zabala and INC lawyer Moises Tolentino Jr., stressed that the entire property, including the lot at no. 36 Tandang Sora Avenue belonged to the INC, and that the INC Executive Ministers’ siblings were staying there as a “privilege” given to them while they are still INC members.
They said that this privilege ended with the siblings’ expulsion from the Church on July 23, 2015.
Zabala and Tolentino said that all the facts and documents regarding the INC’s ownership of the place will be presented in the proper forum, which is the court. (Eagle News Service)